This film is part of Free

Elgar and Shaw 1929-32

Wonderfully candid vignettes of Edward Elgar in this amateur film from George Bernard Shaw's collection

Amateur film 1929 4 mins

Overview

The centrepiece of this amateur film is a close-up of composer Edward Elgar, wistfully smoking a cigarette outside Worcester Cathedral where he was attending the Three Choirs Festival. Other luminaries of early 20th century classical music also make an appearance, including Ralph Vaughan Williams and organist Herbert Sumsion - as does playwright, author and wit George Bernard Shaw.

The footage is fragmentary, which isn't unusual for home-movies, but sadly it's also marred by severe scratches known to archivists as 'tramlines'. Look out for the lovely vignette of Elgar playing with his beloved dogs at Marl Bank, Worcester. The film was shot around the time that Elgar wrote The Severn Suite, Opus 87, a late composition that he dedicated to his friend George Bernard Shaw. The Three Choirs Festival is a choral music festival held annually in July, rotating among the cathedrals of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester. After 300 years it is still a classical music calendar landmark.